Draymond Green is the key to Warriors’ recent surge, but relying on him is a risky proposition


SAN FRANCISCO — Here it was. The moment we’d all been expecting, for better or for worse.

After weeks of abiding by the rules, biting his tongue and suppressing his urges, Draymond Green was met with a fork in the road as he and Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic battled, both physically and verbally, for multiple trips down the court. Down one road was retaliation, aggression, intimidation — we know where that road leads, to a suspension even longer than the most recent one he served. Down the other road: inaction, humility, pacifism — the road most Golden State Warriors fans were probably hoping Green would take.

True to everything we know about the man, the basketball player and the competitor, Draymond Green chose to dismiss both paths, instead carving his own road right down the middle.

Green walked the proverbial line that the Warriors organization continually references when it comes to their emotional leader — getting in Nurkic’s face but not taking a swing. Dishing out trash talk without earning a technical (he would later receive one for arguing with the refs, not Nurkic). Going at the Suns center without taking himself or his team out of the game. It was a masterclass in what Green needs to be, both as a player and a leader, in order for Golden State to be successful.

“We did not want him to be Mr. Goody Two Shoes. We wanted him to be himself, but not go over the line,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said of Green. “We want him to be on the officials, but not yell profanity at the official. That’s what he’s doing. He’s himself, but he’s not crossing the line.”

Green’s behavior is so important moving forward because of how essential he’s been to the Warriors’ recent resurgence. Since Kerr inserted Green as the starting center at the end of January, Golden State has gone 8-3 with a net rating of plus-8.6 — fourth in the NBA over that stretch.

The offense, dead in the water at times during the season, has been revitalized by Green’s energy and playmaking. It’s no coincidence that Stephen Curry’s best shooting stretch of…

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Author : Colin Ward-Henninger

Publish date : 2024-02-22 13:57:02

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